Is Amyraldianism (4-point Calvinism) Confessional?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Semper Fidelis, Sep 12, 2007.

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  1. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    Every particularist agrees that Christ's death has effects for all men.

    I mean by universalist that belief that Jesus died for all men whoever.

    That's like saying a black man can sign a document in good faith that says "White men are intelligent, and America was made for them." When the black man's friends say, "Hey, why did you sign that?" He responds, "Oh, I could do so in good conscience. You see, they didn't say that Black men were not smart, and they didn't say that America was only for white men."

    More than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole words says nothing about Jesus dying for them. His death was enough. If one more person had been predestined, Jesus would not have had to suffer and longer, harsher, or again.

    Dordt does't say that. He played loose and fast with the facts, lied to himself, and *that,* not the wording of Dordt, was what alloed him to sign in good conscience.

    The best question, would a full on 4-pointer have written Dordt that way? How come every single 4-pointer I read must make it PLAIN that Jesus did not die "just for the elect." That he died to allow for the salvation of all men, if only they would come by faith.

    So, the very fact that a 4-pointer *would not* have written Dordt et al in that way, serves to deliver a strong blow against 4-pointer revisionism.

    But, as I said, it matters not since the Bible plainly teaches a limted atonement in the doctrine of Jesus' death as the death of a high priest for his people, interceeding for all those he atones for.

    God didn't provide the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Cannanites, &c. an atonement via the blood of lambs. Why thik he provides modern Egyptians, Assyrians, Cannanites, &c. an atonement via the death of The Lamb?
  2. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Is Amyraldianism Confessional? Let's ask, What does it confess? Answer: two teachings with respect to salvation. Two decrees, two atonements, two gospels -- one for all men in general and one for the elect in particular. Is the idea of two teachings with respect to salvation confessional? God is far more intelligent than that.
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

  4. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    The point of this thread is whether the Amyraldian position was confessional, not whether it was right. Hence, my comments have simply been to vindicate Richard Muller's contention that the Salmurian school fit into the reformed confessional tradition, not whether they're right.

    I personally find Amyraut's resolution of the universalist and particularist scriptural texts unconvincing. However, the misrepresentations of Amyraut by many are unhelpful and unbecoming of people who claim to have the doctrines of grace. It's incredibly important that we show grace as we listen to other positions, even if we disagree with them.

    God bless brothers.
  5. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    That's historically untrue.

    That, I submit, muddies the waters of the historical point at issue because it's too general a definition. It hinges on what one means by "for". That can and has been taken in different senses.

    No it's not at all. Regularly those who framed confessions in the 16th and 17th century would not make statements on various positions if there was disagreement. Dort did not come out and say that Christ didn't die for all people (in whatever sense). Brother, you need to go back and read the history and debates of Dort.

    Dear brother, that sort of statement is a terrible accusation to make. It's playing the man and not the ball, and not becoming of gracious speech. Have you read the debates at Dort and Davenant's ensuing works? It's all too easy to call an opponent the sinner.

    And not all of Israel were saved. So was that wasted sacrificial blood for reprobate in Israel? One must be careful arguing from the type to the reality. It's better to start with the reality than the shadow.

    I'm not supporting Amyraut, this is not what this thread is about. It's about whether Amyraut fits into the reformed tradition according to its confessions.

    Every blessing Brother.
  6. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore


    As far as the first part of the discussion, I'll let my part stand as is. I'll just briefly address the "for" part. Jesus died for *them* so as to make *salvation* possible for *them.* So, the universalist think he can make sense of the sincere offer of the Gospel: Jesus died for you, so repent and believe and be saved. Particularists deny the *salvific* benefits of Christ's death (not *anny* and *all* benefits, as you said was historically false. I mean, maybe for a hyper-calvinist.) "for" anyone. So, the "for" is used in a *salvific* sense.

    I'll respond to this:

    The sacrifices ddn't save *anyone,* Marty.

    Israel was/is typological of the elect.

    So, the OT shows us that atonement was made only for the elect.

    No non-Israelites had atonement made for them.

    Likewise, when we come to the NT, why think non-Israelites had atonement made for them?

    Don't feel bad, not much you can do when defending a weak and unscriptural position. ;)
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2007
  7. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear Tom,

    This is my last post on this discussion with you brother. Thanks so much for the interaction. Feel free to respond but I'm pulling out of our particular interaction.

    [1] This is a very arrogant statement and unbecoming of one who is attempting to defend grace. If you believe in God's grace then your rhetoric should reflect it. If you truly believe that you've come to the truth not because of your own intelligence but the work of God's spirit, then your language should reflect this. It's precisely this sort of statement that gives Calvinists a bad name, because it appears that you're out to win an argument and not a person.

    [2] You've missed (again) what I've been arguing. I'm not "defending a weak and unscriptural position", namely that of Amyraut or universal atonement. In earlier posts you can see that I wholeheartedly affirm particular redemption, so you don't need to convince me. This thread was not about whether it was right but about whether it was confessional. I happen to believe, with Richard Muller, that it is and given my reasons why. That doesn't mean I agree with it.

    Dear brother, the typology of Israel is to be used with great care. For example, Israel was a type of Christ. Israel (in her exile) is also a type of the reprobate who will be judged on the last day--they will be scattered from God's presence (just like Adam from the garden). It is true, Israel is a type of the new covenant people in say 1 Cor. 10:1-4. But this concerns their obedience / disobedience, not the sacrifices in the cult. Moreover, there were a variety of sacrifices in the cult that did not apply to all Israel. Yes, it's true that Christ died for his people. Yes, Christ is a sacrifice for his people a la Hebrews. And the Salmurians would agree. But there's more in their argument than simply this. Hence, the argument from Hebrews wouldn't convince them. The Salmurians attempted to make sense of other passages apart from Hebrews (the classic universalist ones). The High Calvinists claimed the Salmurian position was illogical. The Salmurians claimed that the High Calvinist position was attempting the impossible: finite people trying understand the infinite God, and it's corollary, Christ's infinite sacrifice, and hence it was reductionistic. In many ways it's this latter point that is the nettle to be grasped in the historical debate, rather than throwing texts back and forth.

    God bless you Tom.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2007
  8. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    A slight backtrack. Was/is Muller accurate in his comments? From what I have been able to ascertain, his work in this field is the gold standard.

  9. mbj0680

    mbj0680 Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a good point. Put differently: What good is winning the argument when we have hurt a relationship with a brother/sister in Christ in the process? The point might be made, but the bad taste is left. The debate or argument might be forgiven, but often not forgotten.
    This could do more harm than good for those of us who are ministers as we minister to the needs of the flock. Someone may decide they don't want to come to us if they know we are going to react to an issue a certain way like we did before based off of a previous experience.

    Something to think about.

    In Christ,
  10. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes, Muller is a superb scholar, by far and away top in the field. His argument that Salmurian theology coheres with Dort is an excellent and detailed argument from the primary sources. It can be found in:

    "John Cameron and Covenant Theology" in Mid-America Journal of Theology 17 (2006):11-56.

    On his general comments about Saumur and its inclusion in the reformed tradition you can read them in:

    Post-Reformation and Reformed Dogmatics 1:76-77, 79-80.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2007
  11. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    Marty, calling unlimited atonement a weak an unscriptural position is not problematic.

    i) I attacked no person, I attacked a position.

    ii) Let's look at some thing other have said who believed in grace:

    a) Matthew 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

    b) Galatians 5:12 "I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!"

    c) 2 Timothy 2:17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have wandered away from the truth

    d) 1 Kings 18:27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."

    Now, you may say all kinds of things: they were apostles, or the Lord, they were condemning heretics, etc. The point is, "is that how people who have been saved by grace act?" Can you act "ungracious" and "arrogant" if only you refer to heretics and pagans?? Calling a position weak and unscriptural is not wrong, in the least. I speak technically and objectively. It is "weak" in the objective and technical sense. And, I do not find it in the Bible, hence, it is "unbiblical" (or, unscriptural). I try to not act more holy than Jesus and the prophets and the apostles.

    I have not missed anything now, or (again). I know what you said, and the "gracious" thing to do is to assume that I have been paying attention, rather than attribute inability to follow a conversation to me. What I did say, was that your answer in defense of the universalists wasn't a good rejoinder. I actually knew you didn't believe in universalism, so I didn't think you should feel bad for not being able to defend a position for arguments sake. It's not your fault. I'm sure you're a very sharp guy. But, not much one can do when he is defending (whether for real, or for arguments sake) a weak and unscriptural position.

    Your false accusation, assumptions, and judgmental attitude is actually "unbecoming of one who is attempting to defend grace. If you believe in God's grace then your rhetoric should reflect it. If you truly believe that you've come to the truth not because of your own intelligence but the work of God's spirit, then your language should reflect this. It's precisely this sort of statement that gives Calvinists a bad name, because it appears that you're out to win an argument and not a person."

    I know it is to be used with care. I know how many things most scholars call typological about Israel.
    Giving me a Sunday School lesson isn’t an appropriate rejoinder.

    Anyway, I know that the universalists would not accept my position, my argument. That hardly makes it invalid, Marty. They can go to the so-called universalist passages all they want. They still need to offer an intelligible account fo the death of Christ. My argument is that you cannot find one apart from the necessary preconditions laid out in the old, and affirmed in the new. That is, Christ's death is the death of a sacrificial lamb. Indeed, even a so-called universalist passage includes the idea of OT sacrifice:

    John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

    So, the concept of OT atonement (sacrifices) must be included in even the so-called universalist passages. If this is so, then so must the concept of the death of a high priest for his people. Now, if all people have him as their high priest, then this would be a good universalist answer. But then this leads to universal salvation. All who Jesus is high priest for he intercedes for. All who he intercedes for, go to heaven. If he intercedes for all, all go to heaven. Some people do not go to heaven. He does not intercede for some. If he does not intercede for some, he is not some’s high priest. if he is not some’s high priest, then he didn't for them since his death is necessarily tied to the OT concept of atonement - which was only and always made for Israel. Israel was typological, and the sacrifices did not save them. it is thus illegit to point out some who were unsaved. The point would be that we only know of an atonement made for Israelites, not all people whoever.

    Now, the reason why your answers don't suffice as a good rejoinder to my argument is not that you, personally, don't know your Bible. You do, and are a sharp and intelligent person. it's because you're trying to defend (whether for real of for arguments sake, that matters not) a weak and unscriptural position.

    Good day
  12. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    I said a POSITION was "weak and unscriptural."

    If some PERSON gets "hurt" by that, then the problem lies with them. Attacking *positions* is fine. Positions do not have feelings, they do not get sinned against. They do not need to be apologized to.

    What, has the new and revised "tolerance" won the day now? Are the relativists winning. Is the feminization of Americal (and the world) really happening? Since when can we not attack positions in an objective and rational manor? Since when can we not call positions not found in the Bible, unscriptural. You had better bet that the universalists think that particular redemption is unscriptural. That its arguments are "weak."

    Give me a break.
  13. mbj0680

    mbj0680 Puritan Board Freshman

    Bear with me, I am trying to make a point with this question. If you are not a Calvinist are you a Christian?
  14. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    If you are not a Calvinist you could be a Christian. I wouldn't "If you are not, then you are." An atheist is not a Calvinist, but he's still not a Christian! :)

    4-pointers can be Christians. Arminians can be Christians. Pentecostals can be Christians. Etc.

    But, guess what, all of them hold weak views on some matters, and unbiblical views.

    Christians can hold weak and unbiblical views. I have, and I probably am in some areas, held/holding to some weak and unbiblical views.

    Saying that Christians can hold said views doesn't mean that they aren not Christian, or that I am personally attacking them.

    Christians are sinners, they are not perfect. Guess what, they even can hold to wrong doctrine :eek: !

    Indeed, a Christian holds his Bible as the ultimate authority. Thus if a position does not line up with the teaching in Scripture (or what he takes it to be), then he is well within his rights to call that position "unbiblical." Indeed, in some cases he may be morally obligated to do so. Doing that, or calling the arguments for that position "weak," is not arrogant, intolerant, etc. People need to stop treating attacks on their positions as attacks on their person. American public schools systems have done a great job teaching people that every one has a valid point, that no one should be made to feel as if they're not just as right as the next person. With the deminse of distinctions, the resurgance of pagan gnostic monistic teachings, there is now no right and wrong. Homosexuality is okay, there are no male and female. There is no true and false.

    Christians are intolerant. We dare say some people are wrong! We are big meanies, just like Jesus. Just like Paul. If we could just recognize that every one's viewpoint was just as valid as the next, that there are multiple ways of describing the elephant, then the world's troubles would be gone.

    So, you bet I called universalism weak and unScriptural. Guess why? I believe it is a weak and unscriptural position. It does not correspond to the truth. In fact, I believe that the position makes Jesus out to be a playa

    Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

    Does denial of limited atonement imply that Jesus is a "playa?" That his story of atonement could have made it on a Jerry Springer show?

    "I know you say He died for you, but He died for me too! He's my man too, girl. Don't come up in here and try to act like He's just your man!"

    It makes his love shown for us at the cross worthless:

    John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

    So, Jesus says that the greatest expression of his love for people is that he lays down his life for his friends, and not all men are his friends.

    But, this does not prove limited atonement, says the universalist. You see, Christ doesn't say that he lays down his life for only his friends.

    Well then, "what love is this!?"

    Jesus attempts to show how what kind of love this is by making a claim about great love. That kind of love demonstrates itself in the laying down of one's life for his friends.

    "What kind of a slap in the face is this?"

    I've told my son how much I love him by telling him that I give up a lot of things I would personally like to do, that I spend long hours working so as to provide for him, not out of mere duty, but because I love him. I tell him that he gets food, medical care, a home, pets, toys, etc., with the money I earn because I love him and want to give him good gifts. Would my son think me a liar if I also showered those things on kids who, say, hated me? Hated him? If I spent time away from him working so that I could provide for those who were not my children, giving them everything I gave him, would my claims about doing the above out of love just for him seem hallow? Similarly, I sometimes buy my wife roses that cost over $100. I tell her that I love her. How would she feel if I bought every woman in the world roses too? If I wanted to spend the night with them? What would distinguish my actions that I say show her my love for her, from those I did for them? Greater marital love has no one than this, that a man would buy his wife roses (just stick with the anology, I obviously don't think the buying of roses is the greatest way for a husband to show how he loves his wife)... and every other women in the world roses too! Could my wife (and child(ren)) rightly ask: "What love is this?"

    So, yes, I called universalism weak and unscriptural. be glad that's all I said about !
  15. mbj0680

    mbj0680 Puritan Board Freshman


    With that, it's seems that it's beyond the point where this conversation would do either of us any good to continue.

    Take care Tom.

    In Christ,
  16. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    Good, you found your way out of having to defend your false charges above. However best you can sleep at night, I guess....:chained:

    (P.S. You don't know what "other things" I could have said about it. Are you imputing motives without justification? How does that fit in with your above charges? Is it now not okay to call a position weak and unscriptural, but reading into words, committing the intentional fallacy, imputing motives, etc., to other people is okay? )

    (P.P.S. Your snipe quote wasn't even related to the question you asked me. You asked if one is not a Calvinistic Christian, but some other stipe, can he still be a Christian. I said "Yes." Your quote from me had nothing to do with asking me that question. Why did you even ask it? You didn't even care about my answer.)
  17. mbj0680

    mbj0680 Puritan Board Freshman


    Let's bring our focus back to Christ and step away from this gracefuly without taking jabs at each other. I want to leave you with some verses that I hope will encourage you.

    Take care Tom.

    Col 1:12-20
    12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
    13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
    14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
    16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him.
    17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
    18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
    19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
    20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

    How awesome is our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!

    Take care Tom.

    In Christ,
  18. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore


    Oh, now that you put it that way... I think we're all cleared up! Thanks for the helpful and illuminating discussion.

    And, since we're in the posting irrelevant passages mode, let me encourage you with this:

    1 Chronicles 1
    Historical Records From Adam to Abraham To Noah's Sons
    1 Adam, Seth, Enosh, 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.
    4 The sons of Noah:
    Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Japhethites

    5 The sons of Japheth:
    Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.

    6 The sons of Gomer:
    Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

    7 The sons of Javan:
    Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. The Hamites

    8 The sons of Ham:
    Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.

    9 The sons of Cush:
    Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah and Sabteca.
    The sons of Raamah:
    Sheba and Dedan.

    10 Cush was the father of
    Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on earth.

    11 Mizraim was the father of
    the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 12 Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.

    13 Canaan was the father of
    Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 14 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 15 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 16 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. The Semites

    17 The sons of Shem:
    Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
    The sons of Aram :
    Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.

    18 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
    and Shelah the father of Eber.

    19 Two sons were born to Eber:
    One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.

    20 Joktan was the father of
    Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.

    24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah,

    25 Eber, Peleg, Reu,

    26 Serug, Nahor, Terah

    27 and Abram (that is, Abraham).

    The Family of Abraham
    28 The sons of Abraham:
    Isaac and Ishmael. Descendants of Hagar
    29 These were their descendants:
    Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 30 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, 31 Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael. Descendants of Keturah

    32 The sons born to Keturah, Abraham's concubine:
    Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
    The sons of Jokshan:
    Sheba and Dedan.

    33 The sons of Midian:
    Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah.
    All these were descendants of Keturah. Descendants of Sarah

    34 Abraham was the father of Isaac.
    The sons of Isaac:
    Esau and Israel.

    Esau's Sons
    35 The sons of Esau:
    Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam and Korah.
    36 The sons of Eliphaz:
    Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz;
    by Timna: Amalek.

    37 The sons of Reuel:
    Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. The People of Seir in Edom

    38 The sons of Seir:
    Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan.

    39 The sons of Lotan:
    Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan's sister.

    40 The sons of Shobal:
    Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
    The sons of Zibeon:
    Aiah and Anah.

    41 The son of Anah:
    The sons of Dishon:
    Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.

    42 The sons of Ezer:
    Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.
    The sons of Dishan :
    Uz and Aran. The Rulers of Edom

    43 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned:
    Bela son of Beor, whose city was named Dinhabah.

    44 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king.

    45 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.

    46 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith.

    47 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king.

    48 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king.

    49 When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Acbor succeeded him as king.

    50 When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab. 51 Hadad also died.
    The chiefs of Edom were:
    Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 52 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 53 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 54 Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom.

  19. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    I have been studying this issue some myself this week, and happening upon this thread I thought that I might state a few brief opinions from what I have been reading. I still consider myself a 5 pointer, but I have found some of the traditional defense of limited atonement to be weak regarding 2 Peter 2:1.

    1. B. B. Warfield, in his Plan of Salvation places Amaraldianism within the category of Calvinism. So some level of charity should be shown to other Calvinist brothers who hold to this position - unless you feel that you are a greater theologian than B. B.

    2. Amyraut's position is more nuanced and credible sounding than some in this debate are making it out to be. His distinctions have not even been discussed, and it makes me wonder if those attacking the position have even read through the issues involved.

    3. John Calvin's commentary on 2 Peter 2:1 certainly gives the impression that he considered those false teachers to have been purchased by Christ in some real way. It was shocking for me to have read his opinions on that passage, and I have not read any later Calvinist writer who addresses Calvin's commentary on that passage in particular (could it be an embarrassment to later Calvinist theologians?). I am still reading it over, and it seems that he just states this as truth, without any following qualification.

    4. John Owen's and Robert Reymond's arguments are particularly weak on this passage, and seem to be twisting and turning in order to get around it's plain meaning.

    Reymond's citation of an article by a Reformed scholar (whose name escapes me at the moment) me in his ST is ridiculous in attempting to connect this portion of 2 Peter with a passage in the Septuigental version of Deuteronomy 32. However, no commentary that I could find on 2 Peter made this connection, there is no similarity in Greek phraseology that would lend credibility to it being a citation, and the Nestle-Aland Greek Text, which is usually overabundant in it's citation of OT allusions in its marginal notes, doesn't make a connection with Deuteronomy on any level within that entire chapter that I could tell.

    Likewise, saying that 'agorazo' couldn't mean "bought" in this context, since no purchase price was mentioned, is just dumb. Although he states that every other instance in the NT combines 'agorazo' with 'timay' when speaking of a purchase, that in no way rules out a purchase here as the verb itself speaks to the act even apart from the accompanying term. Doing theology by word count does not create very strong counter arguments.

    All of that is to say, while I currently hold to limited atonement, Calvinist theologians and exegetes need to do a much more credible job of addressing the arguments of their opponents on these passages (especially 2 Pt. 2:1).
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    No one doubts the Calvinism of Amyraldism. It's the duplicity with which its Calvinism is advanced which is the problem. With Amyraldism all the elements of Calvinism are accepted, but all the elements of Arminianism are also accepted. How can this be? Is God really caught between the teeth of being and becoming? He is greater than that, and every Calvinist knows it.

    It may be that the medium or flow of discussion hasn't given people the opportunity to discuss the finer distinctions.

    The reality is this. Dort provides the reformed confessional position: An absolute decree, a definite atonement, a serious gospel call. The Remonstrants maintain an unconfession position: a conditional decree, a provisional atonement, an appeal to free-will. The Amyraldians forge a middle way, maintaining both sides. The decree is absolute to the elect, and conditional to all men; the atonement is definite to the elect, and provisional to all men; the gospel is a serious call to sinners, and an appeal to free-will. Two decrees, two atonements, two gospels, which leaves the individual in doubt as to the efficacy of salvation.

    There is undoubtedly complexity in the way in which redemption is applied to the life of the individual and the church. From a corporate perspective, that is, so far as profession of faith is concerned, all within the visible church are redeemed by Christ. If we take men according to what they say they are, if they say they believe in Jesus Christ, we treat them as the redeemed of the Lord. We invite them to the Lord's table on the basis of their profession of faith. It may be that the furnace of affliction reveals they are not what they profess to be, and consequently they deny the faith. In that case they may be said to have denied the Lord that bought them, that is, according to what they once professed themselves to be. But if we speak of redemption according to the reality of it, the Scriptures are very clear that none perish amongst those whom Christ took in hand to save.

    Twisting and turning is to be expected in a winding river. If the subject is complex, we cannot look for simple solutions. Blessings!
  21. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    Universalists like to deny a payment atonement. That gets them out of tghe double jeopardy argument and the "Owenic" presuppositions.

    If so, then how can 2:pet be used for universalism?

    If the savior did *buy* all men, then how is it that they are required to pay again?

    2 Pet is a double edged sword. Universalists can't have their cake and eat it too.

    Btw, I've seen no good response to the High Priest argument for particular redemption by universalists.

    We should also note that Amyraldians et al need to do better in their interpretation of 2 Peter. The context isn't even about the atonement, Jesus' death, the extent of the atonement, etc. Me thinks the passige is eisogeted by universalists.
  22. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I would agree with this. I want to quote what Calvin actually writes here as I don't find it to be a great conundrum but maybe we can talk about it more:
    It seems to me that Rev. Winzer's reading is most likely. In fact, I don't see how Peter (or Calvin's commentary) could be read in a universal manner. At best, it might be interpreted to say that Christ redeemed all of those who once believed in Him. Thus, it might be interpreted (falsely I believe) to maintain that Christ's atonement is a conditional one for people who were once in the Church but are no longer. That is to say, that they were actually redeemed by Christ but are no longer. I can't tell you how much the term "Federal Vision" is ringing in my ears right now.

    In my estimation, this verse is the flip side of passages like Romans 5 through 8 where Paul is talking about the surety of salvation. Paul addresses everyone in Rome (and in the Church for that matter) indiscriminately. He speaks as if, for everyone he's addressing, they are actually chosen from the foundation of the world. If pressed in the same manner as Peter's passage (and why not Romans 5-8 if 2 Peter?) then how can a person who has been foreknown, called, justified, and glorified be, concurrently, NOT the same?

    Is this not part of what we discuss when we're talking about Baptism in the visible Church? Isn't there an element of both the charitable attribution of the benefits of union with Christ proclaimed to all to build up in the faith while, concurrently, the threatenings that will ultimately accrue to the reprobate are proclaimed to the same crowd. The elect participate in the substance of it all and respond in Gospel faith and fear to encouragements and warnings. The reprobate respond to neither appropriately in the end but their condemnation is just. We labor, love, and hope as if all in our midst are of the former category and expect "the things accompanying salvation" as the author of Hebrews did because, to do otherwise, would be disastrous for Church unity.
  23. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Not to quibble here, but it seems pretty clear to me in the final paragraph cited that Calvin believes them actually to have been redeemed. In context with what follows, this seems to be an actual redemption. I am not necessarily agreeing with Calvin here, nor stating that he was attempting to be a universalist, but it says what it says.

    For what it's worth, the editor's footnotes do not present a very convincing argument (an argument that is basically the approach that Owen takes with this term), as there is another name for Christ that speaks of his glory and power, namely "pantokrator", which is also used in speaking of Christ who redeems us. The Eastern Orthodox took over this usage from the apostles Paul and John, and also see it as speaking of the Omnipotent, as well as the Redeeming, Christ. I do not believe that arguments that seek to pit terms of Christ lordship against one another are really very sound arguments - it is the same Christ. The terms that are important are the verbs which speak of redemption. It is these which are the hinge.

    As for why Calvin said what he said, maybe Dr. Clark could weigh in with some Mulleresque scholarship.
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    It's possible that Calvin thought so but it is simply a blurb. It's certainly difficult to develop his entire view on the subject from a single paragraph. I know I wouldn't want to be held to my view on who I believed the benefits of saving union with Christ extended to on the basis of a paragraph. The FV guys will even use Owen's term of conditional election to support their view as Confessional on the basis of paragraphs.

    I don't want to argue with you on the point either. My points are thus:

    1. It is not fair, per se, to firmly ascribe that he believed redemption was applied in the same sense to all in the Church simply on the basis of this paragraph. One would hope a scholar would appeal to more extended remarks than a blurb that could be read as Rev. Winzer did. I'm ignorant of other data in Calvin on this.
    2. Even if it is demonstrated that Calvin believed this, at best it can be shown that it was for those in the Church only and not all mankind. Thus, Calvin is not Amyraldian in that sense.
  25. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    I appreciate Matthew's post as well. It's very helpful.

    The attempt that Clifford and others make to recruit Calvin as a proto-Amyraldian is unhistorical. Calvin wasn't asking or answering the same questions as Amyraut. Thus, this to ask him who died in 1564 to answer mid-17th century questions, that, as has been noted, arose as a result of the the Remonstrant crisis, is just unhistorical. It's like asking Luther what he thinks of F-18s.

    As to Calvin's approach to 2 Pet 2:1 - I hate to sound like a broken record, but the answer is the external/internal distinction. I just finished an essay on Calvin's doctrine of predestination. In this essay for a forthcoming handbook on the Institutes I surveyed 3.21-24 in the light of his commentary on Rom 9 (which has not received very much attention) and his sermons on Ephesians. In each case, Calvin cautions the readers to take seriously both the administration of the covenant of grace and substance of the covenant (to use the categories that Olevianus learned from Calvin.

    Were all the Israelites "redeemed" out Egypt? Yes. Did Christ propitiate the wrath of everyone whom he "redeemed" from Egypt? No. It's manifest from the history of redemption that not everyone of them was elect. Doesn't Paul make this point in 1 Cor 10? They were all baptized into Moses. They all ate the supper, after a fashion, but they weren't all believers.

    Calvin doesn't actually say anything about the extent of the atonement in his comments on 2 Pet 2:1. The fact that he doesn't articulate the later view doesn't make him a proto-Amyraldian.

    Amyrault is a difficult cat to understand. I haven't said much about him because I find him difficult to understand. There are a lot of issues that make it difficult for us and that made it difficult to understand him in the 17th century. For one, Saumur was regarded as an orthodox school. When Gomarus left Leiden, he went to Saumur. It's a little like hearing that someone at MARS/GPTS/WSC or the like is teaching hypothetical universalism. There's a sort of cognitive dissonance.

    Muller isn't anointing Amyraut. In the MJT essay he's re-contextualizing Cameron, contra those who connect him to Amyraut (e.g., Armstrong) and in PRRD he's contesting the popular reading of Amyraut. The story is almost always more complicated than it becomes in the canned presentations. So it is here. This sort of work takes time and patience. We won't get to the historical truth by rifling through selected primary texts and secondary sources to score dogmatic points in a debate.

    One other consideration is the way Heidegger and Turretin reacted to Amyraldianism in the Helvetic Consensus Formula (1675).

    Here are some canons that speak to these issues:

    As a dogmatic/exegetcal matter, it seems to me that one of the central issues is whether it was the intent of God to make redemption possible or whether it was the divine intent to actually accomplish and secure the redemption of those given to the Son by the Father? In this light, it's interesting and significant that Heidegger and Turretin re-asssert the classic Three- Covenant theology. If there was a pactum salutis then redemption is not merely possible.
  26. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I frankly don't see how one can get around that unless Calvin flat out denies that God calls and then grants justifying faith to the elect alone. The justification of the elect is presented as a "unit" in Scripture. The regenerate are made alive monergistically and so believe upon and are united to Christ in His death and resurrection. Those in the external administration are nearby and "taste" of such things, are required to believe them, and are justly condemned for their unbelief but how can it ever be said that they are redeemed in an equivocal sense?

    Do you agree with me, Dr. Clark, that even in Calvin's commentary on 2 Peter 2:1 that he doesn't teach a universal redemption but only speaks of those who were believers (in the Church) who were once redeemed? It also occurred to me that this might be a classic "proof commentary" for the FV: "See Calvin says they were redeemed...." Is there anything else in Calvin that is appealed to in order to paint him as a proto-Amyraldian?
  27. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    That's a little too extreme In my humble opinion. It's highly likely that Calvin was aware of some of the issues surrounding the extent of the atonement that were later debated. Some of them existed in the medieval tradition. Moreover, Martin Bucer's debates with two anabaptists, Hans Denck in 1526 and Melchior Hoffman in 1533, both addressed the extent of the atonement, and Bucer's position found its way into published material. Hence, given Calvin's association with Bucer it's highly likely Calvin was aware of both the debate and Bucer's position. Calvin was aware of at least these issues when he made his statements about the extent of the atonement that differ from the sorts of things Bucer was saying. Amyraut later dealt with similar questions about the extent of the atonement, as well as other issues which Calvin did not for they were unknown to him.

    History is messy, and to retrofit John Owen into Calvin's statements just doesn't work. It's difficult to make sense of all of Calvin's statements. Furthermore, to pit particular redemption against "Amyraldianism" doesn't reflect the variety of positions in the 16th and 17th century on the issue. Hence, Jonathan Moore's latest book on John Preston has suggested that we make a distinction between Hypothetical Universalism and Amyraldianism. Whether he's right or not, it's critical to recognize the complexity of the issues, and to be careful in reading certain texts with later ideas.

  28. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Forgive me Marty but you seem to be a bit uncharitable in your selective quoting of Dr. Clark to quote that snippet and then end with a rejoinder about how history has to be read carefully especially in light of Dr. Clark's statement:

  29. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear Rich, thanks for your point and yes I can see how it could be taken that way; so I apologize for any offense it may've caused. The 2nd paragraph was actually starting a new point that was swirling about in my head and came rushing out in my fingers. Ah, the misunderstandings generated by this media without physical gesticulations and voice intonations and ... :p
  30. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    One of Spurgeons worst treatments of the atonement comes on his dissertaion on 1 Tomithy 4:10. IT just shows the fallibility of men. That said, i would like to just ask a question, if Calvin did hold some universal aspect of the atonement, would we discard him entirely. I just cannot figure out why this Amyrault/Calvin connection is fought. We are not of Calvin, nor Amyrault, but of Christ. If he did, and I am saying if, it would not matter much.

    This topic always starts out with a sterile question that ends up in a battle ground about "What he said, What he meant" or "You are taking him out of context." Calvin is hard to understand at times. With the amount of words he wrote, the possibility of not being clear at every point is going to happen.
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